Published on May 25th, 2015 | by Kim Kurtenbach


Best Coast – California Nights

LA duo Best Coast have released their latest album California Nights. Is it an album of summer anthems designed to bring California to our doorsteps?


Best Coast first came to my attention back in 2010 when their debut album tried to sneak its way onto my Best Of list for the year. While I appreciated the raw simplicity of the sound, I just didn’t have room for it among great albums from Surfer Blood, Local Natives, Crocodiles, and Dum Dum Girls, to name a few. That being said, a new record label and relentless tenacity has Best Coast looking like they will have released an even more palpable album in 2015, the band’s third in just over 5 1/2 years.

‘Heaven Sent’ and the title track of the album, ‘California Nights’ were two tracks that were available before the May 5th release date, giving me an early listen. The first is a rocker of a tune that seems perfect for hot days of not-giving-a-fuck (one of my most favorite things!) and driving around with the top and or windows down. By contrast, ‘California Nights’ takes things down many a notch in speed and aggression, but maintains the California vibe that filters throughout the new album.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky for a review in this neck of the woods: this isn’t California. As I listen to the tunes and the lyrics, I get a bit of a feeling like, “I get it. You’re from California and it’s awesome there. Everyone and everything is cool.” But I’m not from California. I’m from Regina, and it kinda sucks here. Now, take that with a grain of salt — it was just winter for 6 months for Chrissakes, and we’re all a wee bit on edge. So, listening to music that comes from a place (both physical and metaphorical) that I can’t get to at the moment can come across as something that lacks originality (California beach music wasn’t even new when the Beach Boys did it). I mean, how many times can we retread the notion of getting high and lying around a beach? This opinion, I suspect, changes rapidly when you’re actually lying around on a beach getting high.

In three weeks, I’ll be lounging in the Arizona sun, drinking slowly and steadily and I can only presume that listening to Best Coast in those circumstances will enhance their value, the way a peso is best spent in Spain, Mexico, and parts of South America. The hot weather is coming, even to Saskatchewan, so put this album on your radar, and take it for what it’s worth — squandering a perfectly sunny afternoon on nothing more than beer and weed and fun.

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is a Beatlemaniac who is constantly bemoaning the state of rock music. He is rueful of low ceilings, and helpful to strangers in supermarkets where the shelves are too high.

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